I am not a Civil War buff but there are many of you out there. The notion of brother fighting against brother for some abstract idea has an appeal to many. There way much fighting in my hosehold growing up. This often involved myself and the beloved Rav Roov fighting death syle matches over Turkey Wings, Meatloaf or Roast Beef end cuts.
However, the book is about a little known episode in St Albans Vt. The title of the book might sound like what would happen if they closed the local liqour store. Recently two major bars closed and I wanted to start a telethon for Ernest and Julio's kids. The idea did not go over with the locals who assured me there will be no dispaced alcoholics, at least those who were not displaced before the two bars closed.
Lost in the saga of the Blue and the Gray are sagas that happened away from the armies. The noted NYC draft riots were the most spectacular of these incedents. Those of you who were lucky enough to read the Gangs of NY book by Asbury understand the magnitude of this mostly forgotten history. Do note Asbury has a touch of Paul Buyan in him. Far smaller than that was the Conferate raid on St Albans VT.
Many of you are wondering how Confederates could stage a raid so far from their lines. Many Confederates made their way into Canada, some were escaped POW. The Canadian border is around twenty minutes by car. The route the raiders took is marked along RTE 105. There are plaques along the route one can follow.
The first chapter describes the War effort in VT. VT was an abolitionist hotbed
and the underground railroad went through the state into Canada. The state exceeded
Washington's request for troops and whole towns were depopulated. The book describes the dedication to the war effort. Women did jobs men performed. Packages were sent to the troops who endured bad food. Money was sent by the soldiers to relatives who were needy.
The book describes how many businesses expanded durring the war time. A favorite of mine is the story about the Justin Morgan ( not Morris) horses. Apparently, there was a local variety of horses known for their intelligence, speed, power and longevity. The original Justin Morgan horse lived to be 32.
The raiders were motivated by the tactics of the Union in the South.
However I want to leave the readers to ponder the wisdom of this passage.
George McClellan wrote to Abe Lincoln describing the method to conduct the war.
" It should not be, at all, a War upon population; but against armed forces and political organizations.......In prosecuting the War, all private property and unarmed persons should be strictly protected; subject only to the necessities of military operations".
Lincoln turned to Grant, Sheridan and Sherman who had different visions of how to win the war. Have we become too much like McClellan in the war on terror. This is not to say America should revert to Ghengis Khan. Just something to ponder.
The next part for us to ponder is the of Lt Meigs.
General Sheridan viewed the death of Lt Meigs as an assasination. He viewed the adjacent community as being responsable for this act. Sheridan burned every house in the adjacent area and it became known as the burnt district. Do note unlike Liddice none of the inhabitants were gunned down. The question is two fold if we burn down blocks in a place like Falujah we create more refugees. However, the people of Falujah have three choices keep the insurgents out, share the fate of the insurgents
or become refugees. There is some legitimacy fom the first point of view. Yet are we being Mclellan like and wasting lives rather than getting results. There is a line of tactics that ranges from McClellan to Sheridan to Ghengis Kahn. Maybe we need to be more Sheridan like.